Zarcon Dee Grissom's Idea Page
EV9
Updated 22MAR2008
Home > Ideas > Preserving my Eclipse, and whats inside.
Preserving my Eclipse, and whats inside.
Eclipse
Thoroughly clean off any and ALL finger oil, dirt, coffee stains, etc... If it is there when the nail polish is applied, it will be there for life.
Main Menu
Home

Ideas

Meet the computers

About Me

Links

Idea#015

Preserving my Eclipse, and whats inside.

well, chances are, your here because the letters have rubbed off to blots of lights on your Saitek, or you wanted to see the Eclipse's guts. First I will cover the warranty-voiding options to prevent the letter from waring off, Then for the people that are dieing to see what is inside there expensive keyboard.

Preserving the Keyboard/Typewriter keys.
Well I have some bad news for the rubbed off characters, they cant be replaced unless you are an expert at painting decals onto small models. The letters on the Eclipse are nothing more then a lack of silver paint by a stencil or something, to allow light to get threw the keys in the shape of the characters. Still there have been tricks used by Secretaries for years now, to keep the letters on keyboards. Careful application of Clear nail polish on the top of the keys to protect the film-print letters. I'm guessing this trick spanned well beyond the days of computers, as the letters on typewriters probably wore off as well.

First and for most, Nail Polish is extremely dangerous to electronics, and living creatures, It Is deadly. Second off, most people only have ten finger-nails to paint, not over a hundred. I have discovered, that a bottle of nail polish is no longer usable (to thick to apply smoothly) after the second keyboard, if I rush threw the keyboard-manicures. If you mess up, I doubt that the plastic keys will survive having the nail polish removed, I've never attempted it.  Nail polish remover melts plastic. And last, I have seen some keyboards letters smear when the nail polish is applied to the keys.
can you guess where my arrow key fingers rested while gaming?
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200

Still, presuming that the letters are right there on the edge of becoming a blot of light. My first suggestion, would be to find some one with experience with nail-polish, Presuming that your not the type to be doing you own nails. Chances are, if you walk into a nail (what ever there called) place with your brand new Eclipse, they'll look at like you have multiple heads. and don't be surprised IF they decide to manicure your keyboard, that you get charged for like, over ten manicures/keyboard.

Honestly, I don't think anyone with experience, wants to sit down and dredge threw almost eleven manicures per keyboard non-stop. Especially with all the obnoxious fumes from the nail polish, even in a well ventilated aria (like outside on the porch with a fan). I had around four-hundred-and-thirty  manicures ahead of me, for just the Eclipse's.

I'm not sure I could do justice in describing what is involved with working with nail polish, other then the Splitting Migraine I had after the second Eclipse I was working on out side on the porch. The remaining Eclipse keyboards would wait a couple more days before being preserved, The other less expensive keyboards were not worth the headache.

:Some notes I figured out my self:
First and foremost, Work in a clean area with lots of ventilation. Thoroughly clean off any and ALL finger oil, dirt, coffee stains, and anything that is not part of the keyboard's key surface. Use High grade 99% (NOT 70%) Isopropyl alcohol, the other 30% watter will leave a residue on the keys that will prevent the nail polish from bonding to the keys, if not making a nasty looking fogged coating. If it is there when the nail polish is applied, it will be there for life.
 
Do long keys first, don't let the nail polish dry before applying polish to the entire surface of the key. This applies especially to the Space bar, as well as the shift, enter, back-space, and number-pad-"+"/enter/0 keys. the boundary between coats is blatantly obvious in any kind of light. The larger keys will need to have the brush dipped a few times. If to much polish ends up in one spot, it will run down the side of the key, and look terrible. there is no way to remove the polish without destroying the key, if not making the job look worse then the simple blemish/run looked to begin with.

Buy a couple of bottles of nail polish even if it is for one keyboard. Use a brand new bottle of polish, and re dip the brush after every key. wipe the excess off on the inside of the bottle
neck before it drips off onto the keyboard. and after each key, the cap goes back on the bottle before you look at the the key you just did in the light. failing to immediately put the cap on the bottle during each pause for inspection, will let the nail polish dry up in the bottle before your finished the entire keyboard.

You probably have half an hour before the nail polish is no good, starting with a brand new bottle, may be less. doing keys is apparently different from nails, I'm guessing thick nail polish makes for thicker better looking nails. keys need to be as thin and smooth as possible, the polish needs to be as thin as watter if not thinner when it is applied to the keys.

And Again, If a piece of dirt gets on to a key during the process, Live with the blemish. Nail polish remover will melt the plastic the keys are made out of. Relatively speaking, your poring concrete that will instantly do a twenty year moist cure. Once it is set, you have to live with where it is, and how it looks. The letters will be there long after USB is no longer in use. Like my non-ps2 keyboards with RJ45 plugs that were nail-polished back in the 70's/60's. The keyboard stopped functioning long before the characters on the keys started to ware off.

The Gloss finish
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
The Gloss finish
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200

Two gens at least, the originals don't have them round indents on the windows keys. You may notice the newer Eclipse's are lighter then the old ones, there is a reason for that... You'll see in "Whats Inside the Eclipse".
new & old Eclipse side by side
new & old Eclipse side by side
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
first gen Eclipse
first gen Eclipse
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
Later gen Eclipse
Later gen Eclipse
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200

It just dawned on me what that thing on the enter key is, my sincerest apologies "Steve". There was a wood screw in the top of the table from the makeshift Computer case Frame-Straightening machine I made. That spec is a small piece of wood from me removing the wood screw, that was in the way of me taking these pictures.
the spec of what?
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200



Home > Ideas > Preserving my Eclipse, and whats inside.

Whats Inside the Eclipse.

Now to make a note before I continue, The Only reason I opened up my Eclipse after three years of ownership, was due to a small annoying piece of wire insulation that managed to get under the keys. No amount of shaking the keyboard upside down convinced the culprit to come out.

The keyboard opens up quite different from normal cheep keyboards, the keys remain on the top cover, the rubber/latex plunger mat thing sits on small standoffs on the lower portion. These plastic standoffs are part of the pieces of plastic that act as a optic-conductor of sorts, under the plastic sheets. the plastic sheets make up the switch-matrix thing. I noticed that there were a few snap-things on the front, sides, and back of the keyboard, that also hold the top cover onto the bottom cover.

I started removing the corner hex-nut screws, and realized I was about to put my fifty dollar keyboard face down unprotected. lets get a clean dish towel down there to protect the finish on the keys. Besides, the black parts show up better on a white background.
Think befor you do.
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

The hex-bolts in the corners are closer to a T10 rather then any Allen driver I had in my set. The nuts are under the rubber feet. If your good, you can leave the nuts there, and thread the bolts into them holding the keyboard upside down.
Thats better.
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

Eight Phillips screws under the keyboard. The row of four in a line, go into the brittle clear plastic of the key pad thing on the top cover, the other four go into the stronger more resilient black plastic. still it is plastic, and torquing these screws is a No-No.
Eight Phillips screws
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

I used that small flat-head screwdriver to finesse the plastic clip-things on all outer edges open, to open up the keyboard like a clam-shell. The cable stayed attached in it's groove-thing on the top cover.
there are tabs
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
the are tabs are here
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

The actual switches like new keyboards, are in that plastic film thing with traces ALL over it. I had no reason to remove that, or its attached circuit board. The black whatever that stuff is on the film, is probably there to reduce the amount of light that is emitted from between the keys.
the film sheets
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

I used win-dex sprayed onto a soft paper-towel (not to the point of dripping, just moist) to clean the upper surface of the plastic sheet wad thing. I did NOT clean any surface in between the sheets, just the top where gunk collected. I'm guessing like most switches, the round metal things inside the plastic layers is coated with a special something to prolong the switches life, and reduce corrosion. getting them wet, is a very bad idea.

The optic conductor things, not quite Fibers, there solid sheets of plastic, with a special plastic reflector. light goes threw these plastic things like the "JL-boards/Tote-Boards" Illuminated grease-pencil boards on old NAVY ships. Any ways, these are held in by some screws on there edges. Again this clear plastic is Extremely bridal stuff.
optic conductor things
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
metel under plastic
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

Again, win-dex sprayed onto a soft papertowel, to wipe away the yeas of dust from the tops only of these optic plastic things.

Now the plunger pad thing, these come in two types. the types that have metallic rubber inside the plunger(s) that completes the circuit when pressed, and the type that simply presses on a separate actuator part. The type that have the metallic rubber in them are usually in game controllers and calculators, and sit directly over a circuit-board. These I clean with cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. The type we have here dose nothing other then provide the spring-back feel of the keys. I usually clean the PC-keyboard plunger pads with dawn-and watter, rinsed off well, and dried with paper towels. The plunger-pad in the Eclipse is far softer then any I felt before, it's almost like an extremely soft latex glove stuff. I didn't want to destroy the pad, so I simply rinsed it off under lukewarm watter, and dried it off.
plunger pad thing
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

While I was waiting for the plunger pad to dry off, I decided it would be cool to have pictures of the Eclipse light show, and got detracted by the coolness of the blue.
the coolness of the blue
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
the coolness of the blue
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
the coolness of the blue
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
the coolness of the blue
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
the coolness of the blue
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
the coolness of the blue
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

Now going after that thing that was getting under my keys.... The top part is held on by a million (fourteen assuming there all in the picture)  infinitesimally small screws.
a million small screws
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
fourteen small screws I think?
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

now the keys lift out of the top cover, however the four other battens (vol ctrl, light level thing) simply sit between the top cover and the key thing, they easily fall out and get lost if care is not taken.
what just fell out of there?
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

after lifting out the key thing, the culprit just slid out from under the keys... there it is.
there it is
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
there it is
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

Now the fun part of putting this thing back together, the reason I took the pictures.

The other note, there are little plastic stub-things that keep the plastic sheet stuff aligned. there clear, and difficult to see. There even miserable to try to get a descent picture of them.
stubs
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
More stubs
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
When the plastic sheets are lined up properly, they should just fall down over the stubs. NO force should be used here. the plastic sheets are surprisingly delicate and even the slightest crinkle will cause the buttes to no longer function.
enen more stubs
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
thats alot of stubs
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

The stubs also hold the plunger pad thing in position, again when aligned properly, the pad should just fall into position.
the plunger pad thing
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

Here I'm looking to make sure everything is where it needs to be before "closing the hood".
closing the hood
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
All the screws are in for the optic clear plastic things,
All the alignment stub things are showing threw the multitude of layers correctly,
All the LED boards are in there proper spots, and not lifted out of there plastic holders,
All of the plugs were not touched, and plugged in correctly (including polarization),
All the wires are in there place, and not trying to get pinched,
and the USB cord grommet thing is in it's little groove on the top cover correctly.

Are All the bolts still there?
cup "O" stuff
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
one nut (the rest are still under there rubber feet),
four hex-head bolts,
and eight flat-top fillips head screws.

When dealing with plastic, and plastic screws. I have noticed that if the screws are not threaded into there original threads in the plastic, eventually the screw bores out the plastic, and no longer stay put. There is a trick to seating screws into plastic, that already has been threaded by that screw. Turn the screw as if to be removing it, it will eventually drop down into it's previous threads. If you don't keep turning the screw immediately after it droops down, it should thread in easily turning it the correct direction.
starting the screw.
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

I first put in all the edges first (only four of the eight), the others go into surprisingly fragile plastic. That is ALL the force necessary to tighten the screws. Remember it's plastic, NOT a Steel-engine-block or Lug-Nut. If you need more force then that, your cross-threading it, or something is not aligned properly.
no tighter
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

Remember that thing about threading in the hex nuts holding the keyboard upside down. I still backed the bolt out till I felt the nut inside drop down onto the bolts threads. then started tightening the bolt till it stooped turning, with next to nothing for force. pinky-finger tight is all it takes, I cant stress the "it's plastic" enough here.
starting the bolts
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200

Now the keyboard is some what together, I put the remaining four screws in on the bottom. Even with all the care given to reassemble the keyboard, one of the things on the clear plastic keypad thing broke on the row of four screws in the center of the keyboard.

The newer Eclipse has some what different looking guts... for the most part it still comes apart similar to the originals.
later gen guts
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
later gen guts
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
later gen guts
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1600x1200
difference between first gen, and later gen keyboard. round windows keys, LED boards, shielded film rather then metal plate.



Home > Ideas > Preserving my Eclipse, and whats inside.

Valid XHTML 1.0
My Email link. copy and past. zarcondeegrissom@yahoo.com  
or is the status "coffee is good" on yahoo messenger